Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Michael Bennett has been one of the more outspoken NFL players, thereby remaining a unicorn in the league. Bennett has protested police brutality in the black community and kneeled during the national anthem; he’s even openly criticized the president and yet, unlike Colin Kaepernick, he still has a job.
On Wednesday, Bennett continued his dissent by wearing a red “Immigrants Made America Great” hat, an obvious shot at the updated 2018 KKK hood “Make America Great Again” hats that President Trump and his roving band of white supremacists made infamous.
It’s pretty obvious that Bennett, much like the rest of America with opposable thumbs, isn’t a fan of Trump’s draconian border policies that separated migrant children from their parents. Families still remain divided as the Trump administration has no idea how to reconnect deported parents with their captured and incarcerated children, and has actually tried to move that responsibility to the ACLU.
Bennett’s hat is an ingenious move against Trump and the NFL, which tried to ban on-the-field protests in a rushed policy that was implemented without consideration or input from the NFL Players Association (NFLPA). It would’ve required all on-field players to stand during the anthem or stay in the locker room. It was a move by NFL owners to appease Trump, who continually blasted the league for allowing players to protest during the “Star Spangled Banner.” The problem was that the new policy still didn’t appease their master, who called the policy “worse” than before.
The NFL scrapped that policy and is now working with the NFLPA “on a resolution to the anthem issue,” it said in a statement viewed by the Hill.
Bennett wasn’t the only Eagles player wearing protest clothing; safety Malcolm Jenkins, whose used the protests to draw attention to social justice issues, wore a shirt advocating for schools over prisons. “Nearly 5,000 kids are in adult prisons and jails,” the back of Jenkins shirt read.
Jenkins told Sports Illustrated writer Jenny Vrentas that the shirts were an effort to steer the conversation towards social justice programs and away from the fake-outrage surrounding the national anthem.
In a series of tweets, Jenkins pointed out the difficulties African-American children face in an unwavering justice system and the disparities that exists in sentencing for children of color.
“We deny our young quality education and opportunity then punish them for not finding a way to overcome their challenging circumstances,” Jenkins wrote, PennLive reports. “We waste money punishing kids who need restoration, healing, and education.
“Our shameful practices highlight our struggles & failures as a country to overcome our issues of racism,” Jenkins continues. “The glaring disparities that exist in how we treat children of color should be embarrassing. A black child is 5x’s as likely to be detained/incarcerated than their white peers.
“The 5,000 children currently serving time in ADULT PRISONS are disproportionately represented by black and brown bodies. We must face the raw truth about the treatment of black in brown kids in our educational system and our justice system. The are our future #SchoolsNotPrisons.”
New England Patriots cornerback Duron Harmon also wore one the shirts, as did former Eagles and current Carolina Panthers wide receiver Torrey Smith.